February has arrived and the long-winded month of January is (finally!) behind us, leaving some of us struggling to maintain productivity and stay focused throughout another month filled with rules and restrictions. We all strive to be a better version of ourselves in January, and unfortunately, new habits and healthier routines can slowly dwindle away, so how can we remain motivated throughout a working week?
We share our top tips for staying productive throughout a working week, whether you are working from home or in the workplace!
Prepare to-do lists
Writing a to-do list may seem like a simple activity with little impact on your responsibilities, but preparing lists in advance can help you focus on one task at a time, whilst reducing procrastination and eliminating wasting time thinking what you need to do in between tasks.
Add this into your morning routine just before you commence your working day, to effectively track the tasks you have completed and remind you of the jobs you still need to tick off the list to remain on top of your workload.
Prioritise your most important tasks
First of all, it's important to remember that everyone is different when it comes to productivity and the way someone works may not mean it will work for you too! Some find that they work best in the morning, while others may feel most productive after a lunch break, therefore find a time that's best for you and plan your most demanding and important projects during this period to produce top results.
Without prioritisation, it can be easy to start multitasking when you have a long to-do list to conquer, ultimately hindering the quality of work you are submitting. Multitasking can even prolong the tasks you are trying to complete by switching between them.
If you feel that you are starting to multitask throughout the day, take a moment to close any tabs you aren't working on at that moment, look again at your priority list and refocus to ensure you are focusing all of your attention on one piece of work at a time.
Set yourself deadlines
We’ve all been there – working right until the last possible minute of the deadline set for a task. It’s stressful and undoubtedly avoidable. To prevent this, try to set yourself deadlines that are a clear amount of time before the actual deadline. This way, you should complete it in plenty of time and still have the opportunity to return to it with fresh eyes before handing it in.
It’s inevitable that you’re going to get distracted at various points throughout the day, especially when you are working from home. Whether you are supporting the youngsters with their school work, receive unexpected work calls or as simple as checking your emails too often, this can inevitably result in an interrupted workflow. Whilst it may be difficult to control some distractions, perhaps start by eliminating those you can control, such as turning off email notifications for a couple of hours or allocating work call times with your coworkers.
Don't be put off straight away when the word exercise is mentioned... sometimes a short 15-minute walk in the fresh air can do you a surprising amount of good! After all, squeezing in a workout on your lunch break can be tricky, especially if you are in the workplace. Even walking around the office now and then can give your muscles the stretch they need and allow you to go back to your desk feeling a bit less sluggish.
Take a break
As important as it may seem to get as much work done as possible, it can be just as important to allow yourself to take a break here and there. Working continuously without a break can create many disadvantages to the way you work, including enhanced stress levels and a higher chance of energy burnout.
If you start to realise that you are working overtime on a regular basis, or even just going about your working day without regular short breaks it's time to set time aside to enjoy a little break. This could be as simple as logging off for 10 minutes to read or go walk, or ensuring that you are only working your agreed hours, to make more time for a healthy work-life balance.
Perfect your morning routine
A peaceful eight-hour sleep combined with an early rise can make all the difference to your mindset and productivity throughout the day. An effective morning routine ensures no rushing about, time for an energy-filled breakfast and ultimately a calmer start to your day, which should help you remain focused and prepared for the working day ahead.
Those who roll out of bed at the last minute and frantically rushing out the door may realise that their day feels less productive, more stressful and .. Start as you mean to go on!
Organise your desk
A tidy desk could do wonders for your mindset, particularly if half of its inhabitants haven’t been looked at it weeks. Have a clear out as often as you can, and you could be amazed at how much an organised workspace can improve your mood and help you remain productive without the many distractions around you.
Why not invest in handy organisers to separate your work and make it more manageable, reducing the chances of an untidy and unorganised workload.
Learn how to say ‘no’
For some of us, it can be difficult to turn down a colleague’s request for help. However, it’s important to remember that your own work comes first, and if you’re struggling to complete your own workload, you shouldn’t commit to helping anyone else with theirs.
Taking on additional work will only lead to decreased productivity levels and an increase in work stress. If you feel that even your current workload is too much for your assigned working hours, it may be time to have a chat with your Manager to help ease the pressure and prevent burnout.